By Ismaila Chafe
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, has narrated how he missed the President’s phone call on Saturday.
The presidential aide, who made this known on his Facebook page on Saturday, said the Buhari originated a call to him from his London abode after he (Buhari) had spoken with some members of the presidential media team.
He, however, revealed that he received a text message from the President after missing the call.
According to him, the President had earlier spoken with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
He said: “A day for the Presidential Media Team.
“We are thankful to the President, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for sparing the time to make calls to the Media team.
“The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and the Special Adviser, Femi Adesina responded to the calls, exchanged greetings and thanked him for calling.
“I had an SMS from him thereafter because I missed my call! I humbly join them to say thank you, Baba Buhari!!
“We are together with other Nigerians of all faiths, in praying for his safe return.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Femi Adesina had earlier published his phone conversation with the president, on his Facebook page, on Saturday.
Adesina said: “And President Buhari called at 2:43p.m
“At exactly 2.43 p.m today, Saturday, February 25, 2017, my phone rang. Who was at the other end? Tunde Sabiu, personal assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Hold on for Mr President,” Tunde said.
And in a matter of seconds, the very familiar voice came:
“Femi, how are you?” (He calls me Adesina most times, but today, he opted for Femi)
I screamed :”Mr President, I have missed you. How are you sir?”
He first laughed. That familiar laugh. Then he said: “I am still resting. Thank you for holding out
against mischief makers.”
I said it was my duty, the very least I could do, adding how happy I was to speak with him.
“How is your family?”
I said we were fine, and he asked me to extend his greetings to them.
“I hope to call you again, ” Mr President said, and I bade him farewell, adding: “Best wishes, sir.”
“It was a defining moment for me. For more than a month, I had always spoken with aides who are with the President in London.
“Not once did I ask them to take the phone to him, deliberately so, because I didn’t need to speak with him to validate the fact that he was alive. And since he was on vacation, he had a right to his privacy.
“Of his own volition, President Buhari spoke with me. It made my day. Even if he hadn’t done so, he would have remained my
President, my leader, and my man. Any day.’’
President Buhari had proceeded on a 10-day vacation and a routine medical check in UK on Jan. 19.
In a letter he sent to both arms of the National Assembly the president said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would act as president pending his return.
The president, who could not make it back to the country on Feb. 6, transmitted another letter to the Senate requesting extension of time to complete his medical check-up in London